Saturday, May 14, 2011

Insalata di Farro

I was watching The Cooking Channel last week and caught an episode of David Rocco's Dolce Vita. I am an Italian girl, so most of his recipes speak to me. I also love the simplicity of his recipes, it reminds me of some of the great Italian cooks in my family who cannot tell you how much of any ingredient to use because they just know that they use a few spoonfuls. This particular recipe really peaked my interest because it just looked soooooo good! In addition to looking amazing, it used an ingredient that I had never used before, which is farro. I've told you before that I am overall a pretty healthy person. While I do indulge and allow myself to enjoy a dessert here and there, most of my meals are well thought out and are generally on the healthy side. I drooled through the show and knew that this was something that I had to make. My first problem was that I had no idea where to find farro. I had never bought it before and just assumed that I might find it near the pasta or rice at the grocery store. I was wrong!! I searched three different stores looking for farro and was starting to get frustrated. When I was talking to my friend on the phone about it, she informed my that my favorite store, The Fresh Market, did in fact sell farro! I was psyched and made sure to get right over there and pick some up. This was such a great dish and strangely enough was incredible both hot and cold. I made some adjustments to the original recipe, so feel free to use David's version (here) if you wish. I reduced the amount of olive oil by quite a bit and reduced the amount of farro and chicken stock used as well. I highly recommend giving this a try. Even my 1 year old gobbled it up :)

Insalada di Farro

  • 9.1oz farro
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock (plus additional for the vegetables)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (for the farro) + 2 tablespoons olive oil (for the veggies)
  • 1 small eggplant, diced (I peel my eggplant first, but this is optional)
  • 1 large zucchini, diced (or two small)
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 15 grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 6-8 fresh mint leaves, cut in thin strips (chiffonade)
Cut up all your vegetables and have them ready for you before you start cooking. This will make the recipe go a whole lot smoother for you!

In a large saute pan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and farro. Stir until the garlic is starting to get light brown and fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add 1 cup of the chicken stock and stir to combine. We will be adding the chicken stock a little at a time and allowing it to absorb before adding any more (this is the technique used when making risotto).

Keep an eye on your farro and when the liquid has been absorbed (but before it gets too dry) add another cup of chicken stock. You will continue to follow this method for the farro until the farro is cooked to al dente (don't let it get mushy), using a total of 3 1/2 cups of stock throughout the cooking process. My farro took about 15 minutes total to cook.

While your farro is cooking, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to another saute pan over medium heat. Add all of the vegetables to the pan and stir to combine. Add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and allow the vegetables to cook until they are softened but still hold their shape. You don't want mushy vegetables, you just want to soften them up a little. This should take about 5-6 minutes.

If the pan starts to get dry while the veggies are cooking you can add a little bit (maybe 1/4 cup) of chicken stock to add some moisture to avoid using more olive oil.

When the vegetables are done, add them to the pan with the farro and stir everything together.

Now add the parsley and mint to the top and stir to combine.

You can serve this hot, at room temperature or cold! I've tried it all three ways and they were all great! I did give it an additional sprinkle of salt and pepper before serving, but that is totally up to you!



Terri said...

Farrah, this looks really good. It reminds me a little of an orzo salad recipe I have. I will have to try this.

Maeve's Momma said...

Can I just make the obvious pun and say you should call it Farrah salad? lol

Farrah said...

LOL I almost called it "Farrah's Farro" but I knew that was REALLY high on the cheesy scale! ;)

Tiffany said...

I've been wanting to use more farro! Thank you for this recipe ... now I know something I can do with it!

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